Friday, February 16, 2007

Jay Rolfe: First Step ... From Starving Artist To 21st Century Picasso

Ellsworth Kelly had a great influence on my art. Not only do I like his clear bright colors, I like the simple or minimalist design of his canvases. But what influenced me most was the shape of his canvases.

I went to a number of museums years ago. Somehow I developed the attitude that I'd seen that, been there, done that. I've totally changed my idea about that. Now I go several times a year to my favorite museums and feel energized and alive in the presence of my favorite paintings. Anyway, I hadn't seen an Ellsworth Kelly shaped canvas in many years.

October 13, 2003, was one of those days that changed my life. I was in Los Angeles with my wife Randy Rolfe visiting our daughter. She took us to the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (LA MOCA). It was quite a day. We parked the car and walked past the brand new, Frank Gehry designed Walt Disney Concert Hall. Its titanium skin gleamed in the bright sunlight. It was dramatic and beautiful, and scheduled to open the next day.

Inside LA MOCA we saw an exhibit of Frank Gehry architectural models. It was amazing. Then we looked at the contemporary paintings. We were enjoying paintings by Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Morris Louis, James Rosenquist, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Franz Kline, and others.

When we entered one gallery, I got very excited. My wife and daughter thought there was something wrong with me. I felt like I was about to jump out of my skin. It was an Ellsworth Kelly shaped canvas that grabbed my attention. Not one of his basically rectangular canvases with a curved side, but a very dramatic triangle on its side like an arrowhead. I was thinking, "I don't have to paint rectangles! Jay, you don't have to paint rectangles!" My wife and daughter didn't understand why I was so excited, but they knew that all artists are a little nuts so it was okay. Here's a photo of my and my wife standing next to that painting which is called Blue Green Curve.

Ellsworth Kelly's Blue Green Curve was painted in 1972. For an image in LA MOCA's permanent collection, click on this link.

That was the first step to my unique artistic idea on my journey From Starving Artist To 21st Century Picasso. You can see the results of Jay Rolfe’s unique artistic idea at

By the way, don’t you just love the future Jay Rolfe is projecting for himself? I do!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! It seems like you're on your way! I always applaud thinking big!